For Jamie Pelayo, few rituals compare to taking a bath.
"There’s nothing better than a hot bath to start the day — and yes — I’m a daytime bather," the natureofthings co-founder admits. "For me, it hits that reset button."
High above the Santa Monica Mountains, enveloped in green, is where you'll find Pelayo on any given day of the week. It's here in Malibu where the wellness entrepreneur, husband and architect Jerome Pelayo, two-year-old son Nero, and their growing barnyard brood of six, call home. Resetting is something Pelayo takes seriously and practices with intention. There's a resounding mindfulness to her space, evident in the loose leaf tea, herbs, and assorted adaptogens that decorate the kitchen counter.
It's Pelayo's sense of earthy minimalism that infiltrates into just about everything — from her holistic approach to motherhood to the way she navigates a growing business.
"My husband Jerome is an architectural designer and a real estate developer, he designed our home on land that we purchased back in 2013," Pelayo begins. "Before then, we lived in the home that he also built for us in Echo Park. At the time, I was commuting weekly to either San Francisco or New York for my job with Sephora, and when I came home for the weekend we would often drive out to the beaches of Malibu. One day we decided to explore the canyons for land and we came across three contiguous lots, all for sale and listed by the same owner. We devised a plan to acquire all three, including one lot that was already approved with permits to build."
Tucked among the trees, Pelayo's two-bedroom, three-story, 1,800-square-foot eco-home serves as an amalgamation of clean living and green design principles, an exercise in space, and affirmation that visual and spiritual clarity often go hand-in-hand. Concrete corners are shrouded in green, as dappled light decorates white stucco and sustainable flooring. Rendered with simplicity in mind, its contemporary lines, red cedar accents, and matte black finishes attest to a modern family floor plan. Inside, vintage textiles balance out sharp-edged furniture, created by Pelayo's favorite modern makers — think Croft House and Malibu Market & Design.
"In terms of the design footprint, we had to work small," the entrepreneur explains. "It's only possible to build 10 percent larger than the original home that once stood here, unless of course we wanted to spend years in planning with the California Coastal Commission. My husband was ingenious when it came to figuring out how to maximize a smaller footprint by adding meaningful outdoor square footage," she adds. "The third story roof deck frames the mountain views perfectly."
It's a fitting space for a wellness entrepreneur and herbalist-in-training — Pelayo segued from a career in fashion and beauty PR to co-found natureofthings with Kendra Marks in November of 2019. Here, the living is easy and the privacy unmatched, afternoons melt into evenings spent with family, preferably outdoors. Pelayo tacks her own sacral chakra drawings — held onto following an apprenticeship with The Gaia School of Healing — to bare walls and contemporary corridors. Natureofthings was essentially born out of a love of bathing, the entrepreneur explains, and while the six-product line harnesses the anti-inflammatory properties of buzzworthy ingredients like CBD, the brand steer away from identifying as a "CBD brand." There's a little more to it, Pelayo says.
"Our products were born out of a desire to bring purposeful, plant-based wellness to the world," Pelayo begins. "These are products that actually have a profound effect on your wellbeing. And while we are a CBD-infused line, we don’t market ourselves as a CBD brand — because we're trying to normalize the ingredient for all of its benefits to the mind, body, and spirit. Our products treat the body, from the inside out. Our name was inspired by a poem written around 50BC by a poet named Lucretius who was trying to describe the Epicurean philosophy to the Roman public. He argued that Epicureanism was all about deriving true pleasure in life by eliminating two things — pain and fear. That’s essentially what we set out to do, as well, target pain by relieving inflammation. Target fear through calming stress and anxiety, both in terms of the formulations and the routines that are engaged, when you are using our products."
Visually, Pelayo's home channels a similar vibe. A slipcovered, white sectional sofa — The Cloud by Restoration Hardware — and nearly naked concrete floors establish the mood in the family's living space. The irony, Pelayo admits, is how well her home works for family, despite life with a toddler playing little-to-no role in dictating the design process. Cedar detailing and a master bedroom balcony optimize the afternoon sun on the third floor, while sandy landings are leveled out and decorated with Malibu Market & Design furniture on the ground below. There's a magic in the stillness and a satisfaction in the solitude — without having to so much as step beyond the boundary lines.
"Before natureofthings, I worked for so many years in fashion and beauty, marketing new and exciting products, every season," Pelayo begins. "When I really thought long and hard about what attracted me to my profession in the first place, it was that sense of creativity, born out of a cultural need or desire, that prompted me to reexamine and reassess my purchases," she continues. "I’ve learned over time to invest in pieces that are going to last me several years or even a lifetime. I don’t need a lot of things to clutter my home. I'd rather acquire well-made items that I don’t need to replace too often."
A contemporary kitchen is anchored by a dramatically veined, custom marble kitchen island. A matte black Brizo faucet, silent cabinetry, and a considered approach to storage ensures everything is concealed — from the trash to the pantry, Pelayo points out. The best feature of this space is perhaps everything you don't see, like the seamless doors, the hidden powder room, and the smart storage solutions, tucked under the stairs.
"I think the way that the trash, pantry, Fisher & Paykel refrigerator, and the powder room are all built into the space residing under the staircase is quite unique," she says. "This approach was born out of the challenges faced when working with a small space — it’s one of the most useful and discreetly designed sections of the house."
Continue inside, and a wall-spanning shelving unit by CB2 houses dozens of vintage travel books, each pre-loved leather jacket scuffed with appreciation. A custom console, leather Michel Arnoult sling chair, and a small study artwork by Tuesday Schmidt completes the organic-yet-minimalist vibe.
"I have a weakness for vintage travel books and woven textiles — most of which I’ve sourced from around the world," the entrepreneur adds, unpacking her love of travel. "I love them, because they are unique and they have stories that carry with them. When it comes to our brand, I was very involved in the packaging design, I wanted everything to look and feel like the kind of objects that you would actually want to keep on display on your bathroom vanity."
Chase the light around the couple's new build, and earthy accents ensure that "pared back" needn't feel stark, cold, or boring. Pelayo applies a similar ethos to marketing her brand, opting for a handmade aesthetic and minimal branding.
"We were inspired by earthen tones and real ceramics, all of which would have been too precious to scale, so we developed a stone-like effect on glass to give our packaging that same feel of a pebble," Pelayo muses.
"Our minimalist approach was done to encourage people to actually reuse our packaging — once the product is eventually gone — for anything from a jewelry box to a bud vase."
The master bathroom — admittedly one of Pelayo's favorite spaces — includes a concrete platform, an eggshell tub, brass hardware, and a second Michel Arnoult leather chair — sourced via vintage favorite, 1stdibs. A pouch of Fortifying Magnesium Soak sits conveniently within reach, blending in to the serene surrounds.
"I love the open floor plan of my bathroom," Pelayo continues. "I also really love taking a bath — shocking, I know, since our business grew out of the ritual of bathing. To me, though, this space is my sanctuary, a place to reset both body and mind."
This sense of calm trickles out into surrounding entryways and halls, an unassuming master bedroom, punctuated only by houseplants, vintage kilims, and tacked artwork. The entrepreneur steers clear of conventional, wall-mounted framing, opting instead for an approach that feels refreshingly non-committal. Pelayo utilizes soft textiles, bringing earthy elements back indoors, leaning toward linen, recycled cotton, leather, and stone, wherever possible.
Upstairs, in son Nero's nursery, the couple rarely deviate from the monochrome aesthetic throughout, opting for a black and maple crib by Babyletto, sprigs of dried blessing herbs, a cozy jute rug, sheepskin accents, and well-worn soft toys. It's Pelayo's natural restraint and penchant for warm things, that ensures even a minimal approach can feel cozy and ultimately baby-proof.
"It is surprising that a house designed without a baby in mind could work so well for a baby?" she smiles. "We have a lot of concrete, stone, and little things to grab on to — virtually everywhere in our house — but Nero has done pretty well to not destroy it all."
"I think it's important to build wellness into a way of life and a way of working," Pelayo imparts. "Most
people think that being an entrepreneur means grinding it out, working 24-hours a day, but I think it’s about adapting a balanced approach to get the best results. It's well-documented that productivity decreases over the hours spent and so many people suffer these days from workplace-related stress and illnesses. I put everything I have into my work — and I do my best — but I’ve learned that when it's time to shut down and my body needs a break, my mind won’t stay focused, and my family needs my attention. It’s been a huge but richly rewarding shift."
The family spend their downtime tending to house guests, namely the barnyard brood the couple inherited after moving in. The line-up includes a trio of sheep, Coco, Freya and Rosie, a duck named Biggie, and chickens Teahupo, Uluwatu, Waimea, and Sunset. Pelayo admits that if and when the time comes to move on, the tree-topped view and reliving Nero's earliest memories will be missed, above all.
For now though, it's all about living in the present, with each new day starting — and essentially winding down — with the ritual of bath time.
"We are anchored in bathing, because it's one of oldest, most therapeutic rituals that humans use for self-care. Additionally, it just so happens to be the best way to reap the benefits of our products, it allows the minerals to soak into your skin and bloodstream," Pelayo explains. "I think we are unique in terms of our ingredients and our narrative — it’s not just about one hero — but rather the effect of all of them, working harmoniously together. If you boil it all down to its essence, we're all about being one with nature — and being truly comfortable in our own skin."